HTML for Beginners: Create Your First Website (Part 1)
If you have always wanted to make your own Web page, but you were under the impression that it would be very difficult, then there should really be no problem. To create your own Web page, all you need to have is a thorough understanding of HTML. And HTML is not all that difficult to learn.
What is HTML?
HTML is actually shorthand for Hypertext Markup Language. It is the language of Web pages that tells a browser how to display certain elements, such as text and images through the use of codes and symbols.
HTML is the standard when it comes to creating Web pages. The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C recommends it. Being such, most browsers implement HTML to help display Web pages more or less uniformly.
HTML is the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee. In 1990, Berners-Lee needed something that would help scientists coming from different colleges and universities access documents and research from other scientists. That problem led to Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web, the hypertext transfer protocol or HTTP, and HTML.
Why learn HTML?
These days, the proliferation of content management systems such as WordPress as well as HTML editors can help you create a Web page without knowing HTML.
But even with these tools, knowing how HTML works plus knowing even just the basic tags can go a long way.
For example, it would make your life easier if you knew how to work with HTML to correct design flaws. Like if your WordPress installation is using a CSS rule that displays images wrong, you can view the source and correct how your images are being displayed if you know HTML.
Also, HTML is very simple and easy to learn. It literally makes no sense why you should not take time to learn it!
What do you need?
This is another good news: when you are learning HTML, you do not need much.
You can start with using Notepad, a text editor that is included in your Windows installation. If you are not using Windows, or if you prefer other text editors, there are a lot of free software that you can download from the Internet.
Or you could get one of those HTML or WYSIWYG editors. WYSIWYG stands for "what you see is what you get." Think of it as a layout tool that allows you to easily create an HTML page and format it without bothering too much about tags and elements.
So we do recommend hard-coding if you are still learning. Hard-coding means to write HTML using a text editor.
What you need to know about HTML to get started
There are two things that you need to know to get started with HTML:
The structure of an HTML page.
The basic tags and elements.
1. Basic tags and elements
HTML is a markup language. As such, you will need to know the various tags and elements that it uses.
Tags usually come in pairs. An opening tag will signify that the browser should treat the succeeding text using that tag's properties and a closing tag would end it.
For example, the opening <strong> tag and its corresponding closing </strong> tag will render all the text in between in bold. i.e.,
My name is <strong>Clark Kent</strong>.
will be displayed as:
My name is Clark Kent.
And then there are what we call the "empty elements" or those that work without a closing or opening tag. Empty elements are often described as self-closing tags.
There are quite a few empty elements such as:
All of these can stand alone. For example, line breaks in HTML documents are often denoted by <br />.
2. Structure of an HTML page
HTML is very simple and it is logical. A browser would start reading an HTML page from the top going down, from left going right.
It does follow a basic structure. First, you have to declare that the document is an HTML document. You can do this by using the <html> tag.
Then there are the two other sections called the <head> and <body> of your document.
The <head> is where you put in all the information you want to include abut your document.
The <body> is basically the content of your HTML document.
Put in another way, the <body> section is what people see when they view your HTML document.
Remember how you need to close a tag in HTML? You would also need to close <html>, <head> and <body>, so that the basic HTML document would look like this:
Now you have the foundations of creating your first HTML page!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Gabriel L. Sumastre is the owner of TheFinestWriter.com. He is a freelance technology writer, technical writer and tech blogger for hire since 2005. He has written more than a thousand articles related to tech and gadgets, cloud computing, IT management, SEO, SEM and software solutions. He ghostwrites books / e-books and has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. He knows how to code. Michael is also an expert in webmastering and loves to ride his sportsbike. He maintains his portfolio and personal blog at TheFinestWriter.com